Saying Goodbye: Visconti Brunelleschi

Visconti Brunelleschi Limited Edition box top viewI recently sold odd my Visconti Brunelleschi LE fountain pen. This seems like a good time for a review and let you know why I sold it.

I bought the Brunelleschi back in March 2018 when it was originally released. I was enamored with Terra Cotta at the time, purchasing several Terra Cotta inspired inks.

While it make sound strange for a pen that I’m selling, there’s nothing I don’t like about this pen.

So why sell? The pen doesn’t call out to me. It’s only been filled five times (with four inks) and I didn’t missed it when it wasn’t inked up. It didn’t fill a unique niche in my accumulation. I’ve grown to enjoy medium nibs more over time, but it isn’t my only nice medium nib, although it is one of my top medium nibs. My Montblanc LeGrand and Sailor KOP both call out to me and I miss them when they aren’t inked. My Visconti Homo Sapien is the same size and the extra fine nib is more versatile for me. Plus, the Homo Sapien is another pen I miss when it isn’t inked.

Because the Brunelleschi is such a nice pen I felt guilty not using it enough. It deserves a better home. Finally, one reason to sell sooner rather than later is that I still have all the packaging and accessories. My track record for keeping these isn’t good.

Some observations about the Visconti Brunelleschi:

  • The pen is comfortable in my hand and I can use it for extended writing sessions without fatigue.
  • Visconti has a reputation for bad quality control with their nibs. This nib was great out of the box, as was my Homo Sapien.
  • The pen has a nice, consistent flow.

I used four different inks in the pen, all performed well.

  • Visconti Brown (Sepia) that came with the pen. I never did find out the specific name for this ink and it’s a assumption.
  • Callifolio Aurora – This was a little tedious to clean from the pen. Not exactly hard, just took a long time. Desire the extra cleaning time, I used this ink twice.
  • Montblanc Encre du Desert (Brown)
  • Diamine Terracotta

The Visconti Brunelleschi had everything going for it, it just didn’t click with me. It has a lot of good competiion among my accumulation so I decided to sell it off.

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Long Term Review: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange bottleThe Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen in basic black with rhodium trim, and a medium nib was a 2016 Washington D.C. Pen SHow Purchase. It’s been filled with fourteen different nibs since then.

I wrote about my first impressions in my “This Just In” post on August 11, 2016. I’ll recap some of that post here where it makes sense. You can revisit that post to see my very first impressions. This review covers the two and a half years since then.

A case can certainly be made that this pen is overpriced (~$740 now, only $20 less when I got it.) It’s a basic black pen with rhodium trim. It’s certainly well made, but it’s a resin (plastic) pen. It does have a 21kt gold nib. Many less expensive pens share those specifications, at least on paper. If I hadn’t been able to test it and talk to others about it at a pen show, I wouldn’t have purchased it. But I did purchase it. I have no regrets.

Sometimes I feel compelled to use a pen in order to get my money’s worth, especially at this price point. I want to use the Sailor King of Pen Pro Gear.

At the time I purchased this KOP I was very much a thin nib guy, the thinner, the better. This nib made me more open to medium nibs. I’m grateful that I resisted the urge to have it ground down while I was at the pen show.

While not ideal for all my pen needs it has become one of my favorite pens. This is attested to by the fact that I’ve used fourteen different inks with it in a little over 30 months. This is a lot for me. This is easily the most of any pen during this time. All fourteen inks were written dry, and a couple received refills of the same ink. While I’m not getting any new inks these days, it’s been my first choice for trying new inks since I got the pen.

It’s a pen I use when I plan to sit down and do some writing at a desk or table for an extended period. Extended can be as little as 10 minutes (but typically much longer). It’s not a pen I use for intermittent note-taking or as a pocket pen.

Inks Used

In general, the nib is a nice, slightly wet writer that does a good job of showing off the variations in an ink’s color. The following inks have been used in this Sailor King of Pen. I’ve included any notes I made at the time I used the ink.

  • KWZ Gummiberry – The first ink I used in this pen. It helped sell me on the pen and nib since it showed off the purple color so well.
  • Bookbinders Ground Rattler
  • P.W. Akkerman Hofwartier Groen #28
  • Robert Oster Signature Orange
  • Bookbinders Everglades Ratsnake (orange)
  • Montblanc Lucky Orange – The ink performed well in this pen. Although the feed shows signs of ink drying out, I didn’t encounter any skipping or hard starts.
  • Bookbinders Red-Belly Black – This ink was very *clingy* to both the nib and the feed.
  • Callifolio Aurora – nice line variation with this nib & ink,
  • Callifolio Teodora
  • Montblanc The Beatles Psychedelic Purple – This ink has become a favorite and this pen allows the ink to shine.
  • Athena Sepia
  • Papier Plum Burgundy
  • Sailor Sei-Boku Pigmented Blue-Black cartridge
  • P.W. Akkerman Steenrood von Vermeer

Summary

I haven’t updated my favorite five modern fountain pens since buying the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen, but based on usage, it has a claim to replace any pen on the list, other than the Homo Sapien.

##Photos from the KOP’s past

Review: Esterbrook Estie

Esterbrook Estie - in boxThe Esterbrook Estie is my latest fountain pen acquisition. This Estie, along with a couple of TWSBI Go fountain pens, are my only pen purchases of the year. So, expectations are high. I also go the optional $40 MV adapter which allows the use of vintage Esterbrook nibs with the pen. For me, the MV adapter was the sole reason to get the pen. This made it a fountain pen with a street price of nearly $200.

What I Got

Esterbrook Estie as deliveredI bought the regular size Esterbrook Estie with the tortoise acrylic, palladium trim, and a fine steel nib. The pen comes with a standard Schmidt converter already in the barrel. It takes standard international cartridges & converters. An oversized version of the pen is also available, but only with the ebony acrylic.

I also got the MV (modern to vintage) adapter, which is only available in black. Black does work with any of the acrylics, but it would have been nice to have matching adapters. At $40 the adapter seems a bit expensive, so offering a variety of colors would probably be cost prohibitive.

The MV adapter comes in a cloth pouch that includes a converter that fits the adapter. The included international converter is a tad too long to screw the barrel and section together. It also seemed a little loose, so I’d recommend only using the converter that came with the adapter, even if you have a shorter standard international converter.

First Impressions

Esterbrook Estie - cappedI like the classic torpedo shape of the Estie. This is probably a good time to mention that nothing about this pen reminds me of my vintage Esterbrooks. I could probably conjure a link, but I didn’t buy the pen because of nostalgia, so I’m not at all disappointed.

View on the internal rings, most noticeable just above the cap in the photo

View on the internal rings, most noticeable just above the cap in the photo

The acrylic has more translucence than I expected. This isn’t a good thing because the rings from drilling (or polishing) are visible inside the barrel. The solid lines around the barrel detract from the beautiful design of the acrylic. Once seen, they can’t be unseen. They’re slightly less visible once the converter is added and blocks some of the light. The other, less translucent, acrylics wouldn’t have this problem. Still, for a $200 pen, I would expect the polishing to be complete if the acrylic is translucent.

Overall, the pen made a good first impression. The incomplete polishing inside the barrel keeps it from being a great first impression.

Writing with the Estie

Esterbrook Estie w/modern JoWo nib and converter

Esterbrook Estie w/modern JoWo nib and converter

I decided to try the stock JoWo nib before moving on to Esterbrook nibs. I inked it up with Sheaffer red. The fine nib was a smooth writer. I left it stored nib up for over 24 hours, and it wrote immediately without any skipping. There wasn’t any skipping or hard starts from the time I inked it up to when I wrote it dry. Overall, the writing experience was delightful.

Estie with vintage nib, MV adapter and converter

Estie with vintage nib, MV adapter and converter

Then I switched to vintage Esterbrook nibs, using the MV adapter. My expectations were high, which probably amplified my disappointment., but it was a rough start. I picked the Esterbrook #8440 as my first nib. It fits in the adapter just fine, and I filled the converter through the nib. It failed to write, a total lack of ink flowing through the nib, even after spending over an hour nib down. The #8440 is a super fine cartography nib, so I switched to the #9550 extra fine nib. I again filled it through the nib, and there was a complete lack of ink flow. Both nibs worked fine and immediately wrote in a vintage Esterbrook J pen. Which annoyed me since I now had another pen to clean. I went up a couple nib sizes and installed a #9460 medium nib. It did take a little time, but eventually, the ink flow hit its stride after the pen spent a couple minutes nib down. If I pause and hold the pen nib up for even a few moments (~10 seconds) the line becomes very thin and requires some time nib down for the flow to return.

Esterbrook Estie with vintage Esterbrook Nib

Esterbrook Estie with vintage Esterbrook Nib

My uninformed guess is that the ink needs to collect between the converter and nib unit, and if it isn’t there the converter can’t get enough ink to in time. My Newton Eastman (which is customized for vintage Esterbrook nibs) is eyedropper filled and doesn’t have any flow problems (except so much flow that ink splatter inside the cap if the pen is jostled in a bag). There’s metal inside the Estie’s barrel, so eyedropper filling isn’t an option.

The Estie has a “pressure fit” cap which should prevent ink evaporation. The cap takes a little over one complete rotation to cap or uncap. The “pressure fit” aspect is noticeable when uncapping and uncapping. I haven’t used the pen long enough to judge this, but it sure seems like a tight seal. That said, I was a little annoyed by the cap, and it takes some getting used to. I often hold and fidget with, the cap in my left hand as I write and will, almost absent-mindlessly, cap the pen when I pause. I found this jarring when I did it with this cap. I did eventually become more used to it, but I still notice it, and it interrupts my thoughts. I will probably get used to it.

The clip easily slips over my shirt pocket material.

Summary.

As a modern fountain pen, ignoring the MV adapter, this pen has a lot of competition at its $150 price point ($185 MSRP). If the pen appeals to you, then it would be worth getting. There’s nothing that stands out as superior about this pen. It’s a nice fountain pen, comfortable in my hand, and a good writer. I’d recommend a finish other than the tortoise acrylic unless you can inspect the quality of the interior polishing before purchasing.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase, It will allow me to use my vintage Esterbrook nibs in a pen that’s comfortable to use.

Newton Pens Eastman for Esterbrook Nibs

Newton Pens Eastman with Montblanc Irish Green with ink splatter on a knight pen standUsually I do a This Just In post to give my initial impressions of a new fountain pen, then I wait several months and inks before doing a full review. This is a little in between. I received the Newton Eastman custom fountain pen in early October. But since this is a custom pen I don’t see much point in waiting months for a full review. If my opinions change over time I’ll update this post or write about it in other posts.

Officially this is a (Shawn) Newton Pens Eastman of standard length with a medium girth that takes interchangeable Esterbrook Nibs.

Shawn Newton is now a full time pen maker. He was a teacher when he started making pens. He’s always linked the pen making to his students. That currently takes the form of the Newton Pens Scholarship. Along these lines he sells postcards and notebooks along with raffling off a custom pen every month. Postcards are 2 for 1 until the end of the year so this is a good time to check them out.

Why I Got It

This pen took a long time to materialize. I have over 30 Esterbrook nibs and a handful of Esterbrook pens, mostly Model J’s. These days I find the Esterbrook pens too small and light to use for extended writing sessions. In early 2015 I decided to do something about it. I began following custom pen makers on Instagram and Twitter. This let me see the materials and design but I was still just window shopping. Finally, in March of this year I got serious.

My main concern was how the nibs would look in a larger pen. After some mock-ups with some of my existing fountain pens I decided the look would be acceptable. I was still reluctant to blaze new trails so my first approach was to Brian Grey of Edison Pens, because I had several of his pens I thought would work. But this wasn’t his type of work. He recommended Shawn Newton who was already next on my list.

While I really like many bright acrylics when I see them I find I quickly get tired of them so I decided to go with a simple design. I’d either go with a clear acrylic or a solid color ebonite.

The Ordering Process & Finalizing the Design

Shawn Newton Eastman with Esterbrook #2314F nib and Montblanc Irish Green uncappedIn late March I contacted Shawn via email and the order was finalized over a few days. All communication was via email and he was very responsive. The Shinobi was a hot item at the time and I mentioned it as one of the models I was interested in. Shawn pointed out that the flat side of the Shinobi would be problematic when lining up the different nibs. He mentioned the Eastman as a possible choice and it’s what I decided upon.

The Eastman is a perfectly round barrel and cap with flat ends. The cap closes flush with the barrel so it appears seamless. It’s a simple design that I really like. After giving it some thought and picked this model.

All Shawn’s pens come in several sizes, both in length and girth. I went with a medium girth (14 mm at the threads). This was a size I found comfortable in other pens. Shawn did mention that this might not work aesthetically with the smallish Esterbrook nibs, but I was prepared for this. He did send a photo of an Esterbrook nib along side the medium and smaller sections for comparison.

I went with the Standard size barrel (133 mm in length) which Shawn says is comparable to the Montblanc 149 or Pelikan M1000 in size.

I was already leaning towards a clear acrylic since I’d be able to see the nib in addition to the ink. The Eastman design seemed to be a perfect choice for this material. A negative was that I knew from experience that my Esterbrook nibs would inevitably splatter inside the cap which would be visible, and annoy me. I decided the positives outweighed the negatives so I went with a perfectly clear cap and barrel.

I decided to pass on any clip or other hardware. That would ruin the nice clean look of the pen. I did go with a black ebonite section. I like the feel of ebonite and the color provided a nice contrast.

My only complaint, and complaint is too strong a word, is that while Shawn let me know the pen was done I didn’t get a tracking number. This wasn’t a problem for me since delivery was to a safe PO Box, but you may need to ask for a tracking number if this matters to you, or even request a signature so it’s not left on your porch.

The lead time for the pen was about six months. The ETA was mid-October although actual arrival was early October. Payment is required at the time of order. I typically hate paying so far in advance but in this case it makes sense and is a common (if not universal) practice for custom pens.

What I Got

Shawn Newton Eastman with Esterbrook #2314F nib and Montblanc Irish Green capped

To recap, it’s a Newton Eastman in clear acrylic with a black ebonite section that takes Esterbrook nibs.

The pen arrived securely packed. It was in a cloth pen sleeve made by Liz Newton. Then that was in a metal travel mug which provided great protection for the pen and was functional afterward. I’d forgotten that he included the tumbler so it was a nice surprise. (Checking the website recently I see the mug is now optional, for an additional charge.)

Since I was supplying the Esterbrook nibs the pen arrived nib-less. Assuming my ink syringe is accurate the pen holds nearly 5 ml. of ink.

The fit and finish are perfect. The acrylic is perfectly smooth, both inside and out. There’s no real gap between the cap and barrel so it appears seamless when capped. It’s a relatively light pen that feels solid in my hand.

I attached several Esterbrook nibs upon arrival and all fit just as well as they did in my Model J’s. There is some variation among a few of my used Esterbrook pens and nibs so not every one of them fit perfectly, but the vast majority do, so I consider the section perfectly sized for an Esterbrook nib.

The Numbers

Being a custom pen, changes can be made but the specifications for my Eastman are:

  • Length Capped: 142.60 mm
  • Length Uncapped: 134.98 mm (w/ nib #2442)
  • Section Length: 19.57 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 12.41 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 12.99 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 12.04 mm
  • Cap Diameter: 16.49 mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 16.49 mm

The pen weighs 28 grams capped and 22 grams uncapped when the barrel is about 75% full of ink.

The Experience

Newton Pens Eastman with Montblanc Irish Green ink with bottle

Upon arrival I attached an Esterbrook #8441 “Superfine” nib. I filled it with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink. I picked the ink for two reasons: I love the ink and it can survive months in a pen without any adverse effects. A great ink to inaugurate a fountain pen.

It wrote great but I was a little too frugal with the silicone grease. After a week or so I noticed ink on the section. Ink was creeping along the threads between the barrel and the section. So the remaining ink went back to the bottle and I gave the pen a complete flush.

Even though it was entirely my fault I decided to get a completely fresh start and I changed everything. So I was less frugal with the silicone grease, I screwed in a Esterbrook #2314-F nib and filled the barrel with Montblanc Irish Green. The pen has been problem free for over a month.

As I was writing the draft of this review so I decided to swap the nib and screwed in a Esterbrook #2442 nib which is a left oblique fine stub nib.

The pen is large and clip-less making it a desk pen. Even if it had a clip it would be a little large for shirt pocket. The pen is perfectly round and has rolled off my desk more than once. There’s really no risk of damage to the pen but momentum keeps the ink moving until it hits the cap. Normally I like signs of use, but that splatter on such a nice clear cap annoys me. Luckily it’s only happened when I’m home and the cap is easy to clean and dry out. A roll stop may have been a good idea, although it would ruin the clean look of the pen. In practice, I’ve been keeping the pen is a leather pen sleeve which keeps it from rolling around.

The Eastman takes one complete rotation to cap or uncap. The threads are a bit finicky at times. They’ll catch a bit if the cap and section aren’t aligned to be straight. It’s more temperamental than most of my other screw-on caps but I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Newton Eastman standing on end with Montblanc Irish Green inkSometimes it’s the little things that please me. In this case it’s that each end of the pen is perfectly flat and it can easily stand on end. I like to stand the pen up and watch the ink slowly settle.

Since Esterbrook nibs are old and their condition varies I did expect some problems. The most obvious is what I already encountered, they spit ink if they are jostled around when carried (or dropped). This also happens in the Model J’s, it’s just hidden in them.

When testing the nibs I did find one or two that wouldn’t screw in properly. But these were nibs purchased with a used Esterbrook and had similar problems in official Esterbrook pens. Since I do plan to change nibs a lot I’m a little hesitant to use a nib that has any problem screwing into the section so I’ll probably pass on using some of my nibs. Especially since I plan to change nibs while the pen is inked up.

I did change the nib mid-way through the draft of this article. Removing the nib was problem free, since I don’t consider inky fingers a problem.

Cleaning the Pen

The insides of the pen and cap are polished to be completely smooth, so there’s no nooks and crannies for the ink to cling to. This makes the pen easy to clean out. While I haven’t encountered any staining it would be easy enough to get a long cotton swab inside to gently scrub any stain. Since the nib and section are removable they are easy to clean. While I don’t like removing nibs just to clean a pen this one is different. I’ll be swapping nibs anyway.

Inks Used

Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE is my favorite blue-black ink and one that’s proven it can be in a pen for many problem-free months so it was my first choice. I already mentioned the ink creeping problem and that I replaced the ink to get a fresh start. That wasn’t a problem with the ink and as expected it wrote perfectly while it was in the pen and it was easy to clean.

Montblanc Irish Green is currently in the pen. It’s been perfect with both nibs (#2314F and #2442) and there’s no signs of staining. It’s been in the pen since November 2nd and I’ve used about 1/2 a barrel.

Wrapping Up

The Newton Eastman was well worth the six month wait. I’ve written over 10 pages in this writing session and there’s not a hint of fatigue in my hand. I couldn’t say that if I used the Esterbrook Model J. Well, I did take a short break to swap the nib. I’m thrilled that I can enjoy the full range of my Esterbrook nibs whenever I want and for as long as I want.

I like the simple elegance of the design and the finish is really perfect. It’s been awhile since the pen has rolled of my desk so I don’t regret not getting a roll stop especially since it would interfere with the clean design.

Additional Reading

The Unwritten Word: Tools of the Trade: Newton Pens Eastman

Photos

These are the photos Shawn took of the finished pen, prior to shipping.

 

Review: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe posted on eagle pen standI’ve had the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe for just over eight months. There’s been both ups and downs, so it’s a ready for a review. The Regency Stripe first caught my attention when I saw it announced on the now defunct FPGeeks website and video podcast. I immediately added it to my want list. A not uncommon event for new fountain pens. Most soon drop off, but this one remained there for over three years. I wanted the pen but the price drove me away.

In June 2015 two things happened:

  1. Brad Dowdy (the Pen Addict) showed a picture of the pen in his carry post. No commentary beyond his identifying the pen, but that was only a matter of time. (Even worse – from my POV – I later learned he snagged one of the few I’ve ever seen on the aftermarket.)
  2. Brian Anderson, on his podcast, announce that Sailor was discontinuing the model. Although as of today I still see them listed at couple retailers so they’re not gone yet.

It was time for me to make a decision. The pen was about to get some attention, at the same time it was going away. Obviously I decided to buy one.

Why I Got It

Look at it! It’s said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Well, the Regency Stripe is beautiful in my eyes. While I wouldn’t normally go for something so shiny, this was conservative bling.

I already had a Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black so I knew I’d like the way the pen would feel in my hand. Plus, I also knew I’d like a slightly heavier version of the form factor.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black (left) and Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe (right)

What I Got

I wanted a nib even thinner than my existing Pro Gear’s fine nib. The fine nib is the thinnest factory supplied nib for this pen so I was expecting to eventually get it ground down. Then I saw that John Mottishaw (Classic Fountain Pens) would install any Sailor 21k rhodium-plated nib at no additional charge. So I got one with a Sailor extra fine nib. I had the nib tuned to provide a medium flow with a light touch.

The pen is heavier than other Pro Gear’s (and probably most Sailor pens). While I considered this a bonus, it’s my understanding this is one reason the pen didn’t sell well in Japan. By comparison the Imperial Black is about 8g lighter, both capped and uncapped.

Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe box contents

The contents – pen, 2 ink cartridges, polishing cloth and pamphlet

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 129.27 mm
  • Length Uncapped: 116.58 mm
  • Length Posted: 150.28 mm
  • Section Length: 16.79 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 10.57 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 11.63 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 10.86 mm
  • Cap Diameter: 16.04 mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 13.45 mm
  • Weight: 32 g
  • Weight (body only): 24 g

The Experience

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine nib with R&K Blau-Schwarz LEI’m going to change up my typical review format. I’ll be less technical and more subjective. It’s a Sailor nib on a pricey Sailor pen that was check/tuned by John Mottishaw before sending it to me. Let’s sum up the technical review by saying the pen meets all the expectations of that previous sentence.

The pen arrived in a fairly nondescript oversize clamshell box protected by an outer cardboard box. The outside was covered with a dark brown felt-like material while there was a padded cloth interior with a Sailor logo embossed on the inside cover. I was conflicted. I don’t like pen companies wasting money on a box I’ll never use and probably toss, yet it didn’t re-enforce that this was a pricey (luxury) pen. This was especially true when I opened the box. Everything was on one level in the box. The pen was in a plastic wrapper and held in place by a strap, but everything else was loose. The polishing cloth was a nice touch. No complaints, but it didn’t re-enforce the thought that this was a justifiably expensive pen.

My spirits were lifted when I pulled the pen out of its wrapper. I had never seen the pen in real life so I was a bit concerned. The concern immediately vanished. The pen was gorgeous and everything I expected. The photos don’t do it justice. The barley corn pattern is intricate and well defined. The pen feels and looks solid. I was starting to feel better about the cost of the pen.

The pen had been tested and cleaned. I could see some water droplets in the converter, which was in the pen. I quickly inked it up with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink. It’s one of my top 5 inks and I knew the dark color would work well with this thin nib. I wrote with the Regency Stripe and smiled, feeling much, much, much better about the cost of the pen. To my eyes, which are admittedly bad, this is as thin as any nibs I have calling themselves needlepoint or XXXF. I’m also surprised at how smooth this thin nib is, even on coarse paper.

I’ve developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Regency Stripe. The nib is ultra thin and firm with just a touch of spring to it. That’s what I love. The hate comes in because I have a tendency to write really fast with this pen. So fast that my already bad handwriting becomes even worse chicken scratch. Luckily I’m typing up this review within a day of writing the draft, otherwise I might not be able to decipher what I wrote in a few places. Not to mention that when I write too fast I make more grammar and spelling errors as my brain and hand gets out of sync. Of course, I can force myself to slow down so the hate can be controlled.

The thin nib also dries out quicker than most other nibs when I pause during writing, although the ink also affects this. The R & K Blau-Schwarz LE ink survives pauses of a couple minutes while the Sailor Jentle Black that’s in there now is lucky to survive a minute. This is the one characteristic of this pen that’s a strike against me using it as a daily writer. I don’t use it when I know there will be a lot of pauses which would require me to cap and uncap the pen. The cap takes nearly two complete rotations to attach or remove, although even a loosely affixed cap keeps the nib wet long enough for an extended pause.

The R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink was a great way to introduce myself to the Regency Stripe. They combined for a great writing experience that reinforced my decision to buy the pen. I like to try different inks in my new pens and this is where things took a turn for the worse.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe extra fine with Akkerman IG Ink BottleThe next ink was P.W. Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten which is an iron gall ink. The ink performed ok. Not great, just ok. It was a little light for the thin nib on many papers, especially with fast writing. Being an iron gall ink I flushed it out after two weeks. The cleanup made me hate the ink. I don’t like the clingy ink enough to justify the effort needed to get it out of the converter. While I didn’t blame the pen, my mood became a bit cloudy.

Next I went for the Toucan Bright Green ink. It looked dark in the bag (not bottle) and was called “bright”. It just wasn’t saturated enough for the thin nib. It survived a month in the pen but I didn’t like the experience, so I used the pen less and less over time. Eventually I flushed the ink before writing it dry.

It was time to get back to a nice dark, saturated ink that would be easy to read. I considered returning to the tried & true Blau-Schwarz but decided to keep trying new ink. The pen got a couple weeks off then I filled it with Graf Von Faber-Castell Carbon Black. I again smiled when I used the Regency Stripe. That lasted five days, at which point I noticed that the converter was leaking from the top. It was an absolute mess inside the barrel. The pen got a thorough bath inside the barrel and six weeks to dry off. I now know that leaking sailor converters, even new ones, are not as uncommon as they should be. Much of that six week break was to allow the bad reputation this pen was getting to subside a bit.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe EF nib and Sailor Jentle Black inkWhile I intellectually knew it wasn’t a bad pen, I was begining to think it was jinxed. To hopefully eliminate the drama I picked a Sailor Jentle Black cartridge as the ink to begin 2016 in this pen. While unexciting, Sailor Jentle Black is dark enough for this thin nib, dries quick enough, and is very well behaved with a cartridge that was unlikely to leak. I was not disappointed and when the cartridge went dry I popped in another and kept on going. The flow is great, no hard starts and skipping is non-existent. The ink evaporates off the nib a little faster than I prefer but that’s my only complaint. I just have to remember to cap the pen anytime I set it down, even if I don’t tighten the cap. It survives long enough for me to pause and gather my thoughts between sentences or paragraphs. But it’s a bit tedious to use for meeting notes or online research where there could be a several minutes between anything worth noting, yet enough action to require keeping the pen in hand.

That second cartridge went dry on March 15th, the day after I used it to write the draft of this review. With 13 other pens inked at the time I decided to give the Sailor Regency Stripe a break.

The Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe is shiny and reflects light, but unless I’m someplace with direct and harsh lighting it doesn’t bother me. It’s not a pen I stop to admire while I’m using it, so it doesn’t distract me from writing. (Well, except when writing this review since I am thinking about the pen.) Occasionally a light will reflect off it and distract me. There was one time I moved seats in a coffee shop because the light over me kept reflecting off the pen as it moved. Despite this the pen hasn’t attracted any comments in public, unlike some other fountain pens. (As a side note – the more vintage looking fountain pens are the ones that usually draw comment.)

Cleaning the Pen.

It’s a cartridge/converter pen so it’s easy to flush. I did have issues cleaning the Akkerman IG ink from the converter, but it was easily flushed from the feed. This is the one ink I used the ultrasonic cleaner for the nib and feed after flushing it, just to be safe, and I didn’t notice any traces of ink in the UC water.

Inks Used.

I wrote about all the inks in the Writing Experience section. The thin Sailor extra fine nib prefers dark or saturated inks since the line is so thin. So that’s what I’ll be using in the future.

Wrapping Up.

I’m not going to try and justify the price of the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe. I don’t think I could. It took three years to convince myself it would be worth it and I already knew I liked size the Pro Gear pens. It was FOMO (fear of missing out) that finally made me jump off the ledge and buy the pen. That said, it remains one of the few fountain pens I would buy again for the same price. I love the aesthetic of this pen. A conservative, business-like black and silver with an added flash of design provided by the barleycorn pattern. The barrel is mostly rhodium barleycorn but with enough black to avoid looking like an aluminum baseball bat.

The bottom line is that the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe will be a regular in my rotation. It’s a keeper.

Additional Reading

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe Review — The Pen Addict

My This Just In post: This Just In: Sailor Professional Gear Regency Stripe

My Ink Notes about the pen:

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Akkerman #10 Ijzer-Galnoten

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Regency Stripe and Toucan Bright Green

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with GvFC Carbon Black

Ink and Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with Sailor Jentle Black

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